09th Dec2019

‘The Report’ Review (Amazon Prime)

by Alex Ginnelly

Stars: Adam Driver, Annette Bening, Jon Hamm, Corey Stoll, Linda Powell, Maura Tierney, Michael C. Hall,  Ted Levine | Written and Directed by Scott Z. Burns

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Scott Z. Burns makes his feature directing debut with The Report, a picture that owes a lot to the likes of All the Presidents Men, Spotlight and The Post. And though not quite at the level of some of those films, the film does keep you on the edge of your seat and looking over your shoulder at every turn.

The Report is the kind of film that not only works as a piece of entertainment, but you feel as if you are watching something of importance unfold in front of you. The film leaves you with a strange feeling at the bottom of your stomach, one that can’t help but make you want to dive deeper into the truth behind this film. We follow US senate researcher Daniel J Johnson and his long journey to publish a report on the CIA’s post 9/11 use of ‘extreme interrogation techniques’. His report is attacked at every step of the way by the agency and the White House itself.

Adam Driver plays Daniel J Johnson, in one of two films available on streaming services this month, the other being Netflix’s Marriage Story. Then later this month we see him again in the latest instalment of the Star Wars saga. If it was any other actor we may get sick of the sight of him, but Adam Driver is a welcomed face and it’s his performance that stands as a highlight of the film. It’s a calm and controlled performance for the most part. It’s not the same as All the Presidents Men with constant paranoia closing in around you, instead it’s all about finding the truth and the relentless pursuit of that truth. It’s what Driver brings to the real life character of Daniel J Johnson, who comes across as the Boy Scout of all Boy Scouts, unable to step outside the law, for the most part. His pursuit for truth and justice is portrayed wonderfully by Driver as we see the toll it takes on him through the years of research.

The action and drama comes from the story itself – knowing the history to some degree, and the dark secrets of the CIA, it creates an edge of your seat atmosphere without really having to do anything in terms of filmmaking. It leads the film into some dark places and reveals some shocking truths, and in doing so it lets you be both shocked and engaged the entire film. Therefore all the film really needed to do in order to work is have a half decent script and a great cast, luckily it has both. John Hamm is great, Ted Levine is great, Michael C. Hall is great and topping all those is Annette Bening.

So, if you’re looking for an engaging and entertaining film, you’ll get exactly that with The Report, but you might just end up getting a little more from the real life story.

*** 3/5

The Report is available to watch on Amazon Prime Video now.

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